The NDP energy policy announced by John Horgan once again illustrates how utterly devoid of economic expertise and awareness the NDP are. The energy scheme borrows heavily from BC Liberal policy by focusing on conservation but leaves out the other key pillar of good energy policy: any ideas on how to grow the economy.

“Conservation is important, which is why we are doing it; retrofitting is important and that’s why we’re doing it; Revelstoke expansion is needed, which is why we are doing it, along with the John Hart, Ruskin and Mica projects,” says Bill Bennett, B.C.’s energy minister and MLA for Kootenay East.

“After working on this for two years, the NDP have offered up nothing new. Horgan’s only contribution has been to repackage what BC Hydro is already doing and claim it is an original idea. He also says no to the Site C project and the thousands of jobs that Site C will create.”

Bennett notes BC Hydro is investing $2.4 billion a year for at least the next 10 years on upgrades and infrastructure to continue to provide affordable and reliable power, keeping electricity costs low to support our growing economy.

“John is a little late to the game here. We’re already doing what he seems to be so excited about – upgrading the existing assets. But the difference is we’re also planning for economic growth in the future and the NDP are clearly not, which is why I believe they only have half a plan,” he says.

“The NDP aren’t listening. I said in the legislature that Revelstoke 6 will be built. But Revelstoke 6 is about capacity, not energy. By insisting that Revelstoke 6 will remove the need for the energy from Site C shows how the NDP doesn’t understand the difference between capacity and energy which is fundamental to understanding how electricity systems function. A key to the success of B.C.’s electricity network is the understanding that intermittent energy like wind, solar and run of river hydro must be backed up by the capacity from large hydro-electric. The NDP ignores this reality.”

It was this government that passed the Clean Energy Act requiring BC Hydro to meet at least 66% of new demand through conservation. The NDP voted unanimously against the Clean Energy Act in 2010 and against this commitment to conservation.

“Last year, 97.9% of all electricity generated in B.C. was clean and green and 25% of that comes from private mostly renewable power projects (run of river, wind, solar, bio-energy), clean energy that John Horgan refers to as ‘junk power,’” says Bennett.

“Again, John Horgan is late to the game, this time on the importance of conservation. Of course the best thing to do is conserve. That’s what PowerSmart is about. He should go to BC Hydro’s website and see all the programs in place to help individuals and businesses save energy.”

British Columbia is leading the country in demand supply management and has one of the most ambitious conservation programs in North America.

Since 2008, BC Hydro has provided financial support and expertise for 600 energy audits and 1,500 energy efficiency projects for major industrial customers.

Since 2008, BC Hydro has funded more than 800 Power Smart projects for school districts – saving schools about $3.3 million per year.

Bennett says the NDP scheme fails to provide any new ideas, recycles programs already in place and most importantly seems to actually align with the zero growth orthodoxy of socialist ideologues. “This is the closest I think I’ve ever seen the NDP come to revealing their antipathy to economic growth.”

“I think this really shows the difference between the BC Liberal government and the NDP opposition,” he says. “On our side we want to grow the economy, create jobs and power the future and we want to do it using clean energy and ensure that conservation plays a significant role. The NDP plan is not balanced by any semblance of interest in economic growth. That explains why they seem to believe B.C. will have no need for new power. Their energy policy would hurt British Columbians and must not be allowed to be implemented.”

Backgrounder

The B.C. government has been pursuing energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction goals in the BC Building Code since 2007.

B.C. adopted the 2012 National Model Building Code amendments to Section 9.36 for energy efficiency in housing and small buildings.

  • The new Code provisions will set a minimum standard for heating and cooling systems, hot water tanks and the performance of doors, windows and skylights.
  • The new requirements broaden the focus for energy efficiency to include the entire building, not just the insulation in the walls.

In December 2014, new energy efficiency requirements for housing and small buildings came into effect.

EXAMPLE – BCIT:

  • BC Hydro has contributed $1.55 million towards energy efficiency projects and initiatives at BCIT over the last 12 years.
    • This has resulted in BCIT achieving more than 6 gigawatt hours of energy savings.

EXAMPLE – Vancouver Coastal Health Authority:

  • BC Hydro has contributed more than $5 million over the last 8 years to update lighting and fixtures in operating rooms and patient rooms.
    • This has resulted in Vancouver Coastal Health saving more than 27 GWh a year.

EXAMPLE – Langley School District 35:

  • BC Hydro has contributed more than $1.48 million since 2002 to upgrade to more energy efficient lighting and fixtures.
    • This has resulted in Langley School District saving more than four GWh a year.
    • Last year alone, the district replaced 6,973 lamps and added motion sensors and pulse meters to reduce waste and reduced energy use by 582,000 kWh— $50,000 in savings: the equivalent of running two entire school buildings.

EXAMPLE – Northern Health:

  • The partnership created by Northern Health and FortisBC in order to find unique ways to reduce the use of energy with operating systems that do not impact direct patient care.
  • In fact, the money saved through the more effective HVAC systems, boiler systems, and humidifier in the pool is put back into direct patient care.
  • It is estimated that this incentive program from Fortis BC, along with other energy saving initiatives in Northern B.C. over the past five and a half years, have saved enough money to hire approximately 48 health care professionals for a year.
  • This includes 30.8 gigawatt hours of electricity savings totaling $2.4 million, and 372,000 gigajoules avoided natural gas consumption totalling $3.4 million.

EXAMPLE – Schools:

  • In April 2012, school districts throughout B.C. got a boost from the B.C. government to help reduce their carbon footprint and save money. A total of $5 million has been provided annually through the Carbon Neutral Capital Program so school districts can undertake electrical and mechanical improvements to their schools that will lower carbon emissions.
  • From Carbon Neutral Capital Program projects undertaken in 2012-13 and 2013-14, school districts have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by more than 3,000 tonnes and are now saving $75,000 in carbon charges as well as about $800,000 in additional operating costs every year.
  • The new heat pumps at Palmer Secondary school in the Richmond school district lower the school’s GHG emissions by 76%. This new system allows SD 38 to save more than $19,000 on annual energy costs and $5,000 on annual carbon charges.
  • By replacing the old boilers at Lake Cowichan Secondary school with a more-efficient model powered by wood waste, the Cowichan Valley school district cut the school’s GHG emissions by 168 tonnes and its annual energy costs by more than $54,000, in addition to saving more than $4,000 each year in carbon charges.

EXAMPLE – ICE Fund Passive House:

  • In Feb. 2015 the B.C. government provided a $100,000 grant from the Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) fund to help sponsor and subsidize introductory or certification courses in Passive House design and construction for up to 200 qualified professionals.
  • New buildings can be designed to consume 80 to 90% less energy than conventional construction using Passive House design principles.
  • Building to the Passive House standard reduces a buildings’ energy demand through passive measures and components such as enhanced insulation, air tightness, heat recovery, solar heat gains, solar shading and incidental internal heat gains.
  • This system of construction requires specialized training and experience, not readily available in Canada.
  • The ICE Fund grant to the Canadian Passive House Institute West will help more engineers, architects and construction professionals gain the training and experience they need to design and build the most energy efficient buildings in the world.
  • Energy savings from ultra-efficient new homes will help consumers reduce energy bills and will contribute to decreased electricity demand over the next 20 years. This will help BC Hydro meet its energy conservation targets, and work towards meeting B.C.’s legislated greenhouse gas emission targets.